Manila, UT, is a small, tight-knit community located just south of Sweetwater County near the Utah/Wyoming border. The town is chock-full of kind-hearted people who have always come together when it matters most.
Manila is my (Kaylee ?) hometown and also home to quick-witted, 16-year-old Morgan Walters.
Morgan was recently diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma. Ewing Sarcoma is an extremely rare cancer that typically occurs in children and young adults.
Morgan loves fishing with his dad, Charley Walters, and playing any sport he can. Along with his quick-wit, Morgan has always been polite and kind to everyone he meets. He also has a knack for keeping a positive attitude.
“He’s helped me and his dad through this, more than we could ever help him. He’s held us together,” Morgan’s mom said.”And his sister (Saige) has not let him out of her sight.”
Morgan has a tough fight ahead of him. He not only has his family to help him through but the love and support that the people Manila and beyond have shown him, has truly been a heartwarming sight to witness.
Shortly after Morgan’s diagnosis, his friend, Brody Schofield created a Facebook group and Instagram account named “Team Mighty Mo” to provide an outlet for community members, and Morgan’s friends and family to follow during Morgan’s journey and to offer words of encouragement. So far, the Facebook group has over 300 members, which almost matches the population of Manila.
“It is so cool to be friends with your hero.”
For the past several days it has been hard to find a Facebook friend from Manila whos profile picture isn’t the “Team Might Mo” image. ?
On Thursday, April 8, Morgan was able to leave the hospital and head back home. As Morgan and his family made their way into Manila they received a police escort back into town where they found the streets lined with a parade of people cheering and holding signs, welcoming Morgan and his family back.
Courtesy Video: Provided by Tiffany Browning
Afterward, Brody posted an update from Morgan’s mom in the “Team Mighty Mo” Facebook group.
“Where to begin… There are no words that even exist to explain what we came home to. Morgan was greeted back home by the most amazing thing we have ever seen – I hope people will share pictures to try and do it justice. When the parade was finished Morgan broke down and sobbed for the very first time. He was so touched he could not contain it anymore. Friends, family, and our town came together and we have never felt such love. As I said words are inadequate. From the bottom of our hearts and souls, you lifted us so high. I love you so much.”
Morgan also posted an update thanking everyone for the love he’s received.
“You guys are so amazing. Thank you so much. ❤️”
Just a day later, Morgan’s buddy, Brody used his connections with the Utah Jazz to show some extra support for his friend and posted a video of the Utah Jazz sportscaster Craig Bolerjack letting Morgan know that he and the rest of the Jazz broadcast team are thinking of him.
Everybody needs a friend like Brody.
Morgan’s cousin, Dustin Shillcox who is well known in Sweetwater County for his own personal story of rising in the face adversity, shaved his head in support of Morgan.
From now on, Morgan’s life may not be what he had expected. He has some battles to win and a tough road ahead. But one thing is for sure, he won’t travel that road alone. He’ll have an incredible family, thoughtful friends, and a whole community with him every step of the way.
And now more than ever, I am proud to call Manila, UT my hometown.
You’ve got this, Morgan! ❤️